The first night of Victoria’s revamped hotel quarantine program has gone without a hitch, the state government says, despite the arrival of one passenger with COVID-19 symptoms.
The state on Tuesday reported no locally acquired or overseas cases and no deaths, with 7043 test results received in the previous 24 hours.
Police Minister Lisa Neville, who is overseeing the new quarantine program, said the government had been preparing for five months.
“I’m absolutely confident that this program is robust and is going to deliver what we said it will,” she said.
Neville said the only issues so far had been minor, involving one traveller trying to get a treadmill delivered to his hotel room and others trying to order large amounts of alcohol.
“Not wanting to be mean but we felt that’s probably not in their best interest,” she said.
Victoria has not accepted international flights since the end of June, when it was revealed a number of hotel quarantine workers had contracted COVID-19 from guests.
The outbreaks sparked the state’s deadly second wave and led to the nation’s toughest lockdown.
The state’s run of 39 days with no local cases of the virus is now being put to the test with the reopening of the hotel quarantine program for international arrivals.
The new-look hotel quarantine set-up received its first returned travellers on Monday, with 235 of them landing aboard flights from Colombo, Doha, Hong Kong, Manilla, Singapore and Tokyo.
Another 128 people are scheduled to arrive at Melbourne Airport on Tuesday.
There is a weekly cap of 1120 passengers, who will have to pay for their mandatory 14-day stay in hotel quarantine.
The fee will be set at $3000 per adult, $1000 for each additional adult in a room and $500 for children aged between three and 18 – the same fees charged in NSW and South Australia.
The government will introduce legislation to parliament on Tuesday to impose the prices on travellers and has received legal advice they can be imposed retrospectively.
Most passengers on Monday were taken straight from the tarmac to the Pan Pacific and Park Royal hotels, while those who have COVID-19 symptoms or complex medical needs were instead moved to “hot hotel” Novotel at South Wharf.
Neville also clarified the restrictions facing doctors working in the quarantine program, who will be allowed to work externally, but only in order to maintain the clinical hours required by their profession.
She said the doctors will be tested daily, and will mostly see patients through telehealth appointments.
It comes after two travellers flying from Tokyo failed to enter mandatory quarantine in Sydney and boarded Virgin flight VA838, which landed in Melbourne at 1.25pm on Saturday.
The pair – a 53-year-old woman and a 15-year-old boy who are German-Australian dual citizens – tested negative to COVID-19. They were retested on Monday and again returned a negative result.
More than 170 passengers and crew, as well as a handful of airport staff, who were forced to self-isolate can now leave quarantine.